Talking Point: Should 16 year olds get the same pay as adults?
Updated: Mar 2
After being inspired by recent social media posts, we consider whether or not minors should be eligible to the same hourly pay as adults of the same job.
“It would take someone under the age of 18 to work almost double the hours to earn the same amount as someone over the age of 25”
The topic cropped-up on social media recently about how an increasing amount of 16 year olds believe that they should be earning the same hourly amount as adults.
The national minimum wage sets out the minimum that a certain age group can be paid per hour. For those under 18 this is currently £4.35 per hour, whilst for over 25 it is almost double the amount at £8.21 per hour. This means that it would take someone under the age of 18 to work almost double the hours to earn the same amount as someone over the age of 25.
This may be frustrating for 16 year olds but they are also required to stay in some form of education or training until the age of 18. Therefore, some may argue that students should focus on their education first rather than earning money. However, others may argue that since 16 year olds have the right to work if they want, the pay shouldn’t be based on their age but rather the skills that are required for the particular job.
Many 16 year olds may give up their weekends to go and do their job, while managing their schoolwork at the same time. Moreover, 16 year olds may get a job during the summer, due to having spare time on their hands, so they can earn some money and be productive, but should they be earning the same amount as a person over the age of 25? If you think yes, think about the difference in responsibilities that a 16 year old has compared to someone who is over the age 25.
A person who is over 25 may have to: provide for their family, pay the rent and pay off their bills, but at the age of 16 you don’t necessarily have to worry about these things as your parents/carers are still legally responsible to provide for you.
Some may also see this as age discrimination however, The Equality Act 2010 states that it is not unlawful to pay workers of different ages at different rates. Also, 16 year olds do not have to pay taxes which can take up a fair amount of an adult’s income.
In my personal opinion, I think that 16 year olds don’t necessarily need to be earning the same hourly rate of money as someone over the age of 25, due to the different circumstances and responsibilities that are faced at these ages.
What do you think?